Eugene Gilligan, Contributing Writer
Piscataway, N.J.–Construction has begun on a $39 million, 501-bed student housing complex on the Busch Campus at Rutgers University. Designed by Atlanta-based Niles Bolton Associates, the three-building, 150,000-square-foot complex is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2011.
The new housing is designed around the concept of creating a “living and learning” community that facilitates increased interaction between students and faculty from the life sciences engineering disciplines.
The three-building community, which will house mostly freshmen, creates a large, courtyard space designed to accommodate student recreation, outdoor studying or special events. The buildings will provide amenities such as social program space designed to accommodate up to 300 students, a study lounge with room for 80 people, a computer lab that serves classes of up to 60 students, and four-story entry atriums. Units will be arranged in suite-style configurations, with shared bathrooms.
Rutgers has the second largest amount of on-campus student housing among U.S. universities, says Jeff Smith, principal at Niles Bolton Associates. A major initiative of the 53,000-student university has been to create student housing that allows professors to come to dormitories to conduct classes. In this new development, social program space can also be used as classroom space, Smith says. Rutgers is not alone, he says, as Niles Bolton is now working on a student housing project at Georgia Gwinnett College where student living areas can also serve as lecture space.
Student housing construction has not been slowed as severely by the recession as other property types, Smith says, and competition to win this business has been stiff. He says, however, he is seeing more activity among private developers.
“We’ve had a busy first quarter,” he says. “It’s more than a silver lining.”